Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Inspired to Design - A Book Review

Now, I want to prefice this review with the disclaimer that I'm probably already a bit bias toward the author of this book, Elizabeth Barton.  I mean, I've taken 2 - 5 day classes from her in person, 2 classes from her online and am slated to take another this summer.  But  that said, I promise to give an honest review of her upcoming book and not give into the temptation to butter up the teacher - grin.

And why  have I taken so many classes from Elizabeth Barton?  Because she is thorough.  Oh and yeah she's really thorough. And then she's thorough some more.  So it came  as no big surprise that her new book, Inspired to Design is a thoroughly comprehensive look into her process of designing an art quilt.

Now if you're looking for a quickie, easy-peasy book  - where you take out a bunch of fabric and a weekend later you have thrown together a quilt  - don't buy this book.  You won't find a bunch of patterns here  - nor will you find a lot of construction details.

What you  will find in Barton's book is the meat and potatoes of good art design.  She believes that the vast majority of work that is put into an art quilt is done in the design process.  I mean, she has 7 steps to make the quilt and 6 of them are designing.  She takes you right from inspiration  to forming a solid main idea to finally creating a strong composition.  You can expect a great beginner's guide to the elements of art as well as the design principals.  You can expect easy to follow exercises that will help you stretch your creativity.  You can expect practical, concrete advice on how to make your designs better.

As a bonus, Barton includes a quick lesson on hand dyeing fabric.  She also includes picture after picture of her amazing art.  She explains exactly how she came up with her ideas for the quilts and how her design process helped her reach her goals.  You can see the direct correlation between her hours of designing and her award winning work.  The pictures are lushous  - plentiful - well placed.

Cement Works, Elizabeth Barton
The thing this book is a little light on is how to get your piece together at the end.  There is a whole section on construction, but I know from experience that its not as easy as it might look in that chapter.  The reader will need to have a good foundation of construction skills to put together a piece using  this design process.  You can tell that this book was aimed at the intermediate to advance quilter who wants to make the jump from patterned work to original.

So I would highly recommend this book to any budding art quilter.  Its a wealth of information that I'll read  over and over again. Its the kind of book that will be a staple on your art shelf for years.   Its perfect for the more structured artist (read me!) but also if your style is a bit more loose you can still find a wealth of information that will help your creative process!

I can't wait for her next book about working in series slated to be release in December.


Terri Stegmiller said...

Thanks for the review. I've recently added this book to my amazon wish list. I'm now more sure that I will be getting a copy.

Glen QuiltSwissy said...

So how much did she pay you for this glowing report? LOL. HEE HEE

I ordered this book and was informed that it was shipping yesterday! I am so excited, I can't wait to get it!

Elizabeth Barton said...

Alas and alack there wasn't room in the book for more construction details!! You're always gambling on what to leave in and what to leave out.
thank you so much for writing the review, Nina-Marie -it's very thoughtful and helps me greatly to see my ideas from a different perspective. See you at Arrowmont! Elizabeth

Heather Pregger said...

Thanks for the review. I ordered it last night!

Amy @ Amy's FMQ Adventures said...

Ah, another book to add to the wish list! Time to purge some old books off the shelves to make way for the new!

Design and composition is probably what I need to learn more of anyway since my technique is fairly simplistic.